Handmade Market owner Julie Nichols says she did consider closing the successful business and walking away when COVID-19 hit and the markets could not continue as a live event.
There hasn't been a live Handmade Market since last December, the one scheduled for March cancelled as the coronavirus pandemic hit Canberra.
"We had to decide, 'We're either going to have to put up a bankruptcy sign and walk away or we need to do something'. So we took the market online," she said.
The one-day virtual markets have been a big success, with the spring one on September 26 featuring almost 400 stall-holders selling through the market's portal.
"We're now getting the same amount of shoppers online, averaging between 20,000 and 30,000 shoppers in the one day, which is awesome," Julie said.
Even as restrictions ease in Canberra, the Handmade Market has not been allowed to return. Julie said she would rather be trading at a live market but understands why that can't happen yet.
"It's designed to be indoors and then if you try to put 20,000 people in there over two days, it's just impossible. So I get that's the difference between us and Harvey Norman or people going to the Canberra Centre," she said.
"I guess we're a victim of our success and we've got to ride through it."
She has been convinced to continue online because that is providing sometimes the only traffic coming to some sellers.
"We've now become an actual lifeline for all of these businesses. So many people have said, 'If I didn't have you guys, I'd have nothing and I don't know what I'd do'," she said.
"It's actually make us sit up and say, 'Holy crap, we can't let this go under'."
And Julie expects some new developments to be revealed in the New Year.
"We have redefined ourselves," she said.
"If this becomes the new norm and we never reopen, we will be OK."
- The Handmade Spring Virtual Market will be 9am until 9pm on September 26 at handmadecanberra.com.au.